Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Turbo CAD Deluxe or other choices?


#1

When you have a lot of scraps - make sausage !

I have been looking at a CAD program with the intention of using
scanned images from a lot of sources ( including Dover Clip Art ).
Some images I have gotten from Google Image searches. Initally I plan
to print a dimensionally correct image on paper or PNP (just bought
new HP laser printer). The idea being then to glue the paper to the
metal for pierceing & cutting, then more esoteric forms of metal
mutulation will follow. The PNP is for etching Copper or Silver
primarly.

Where is an economical and easly available source for PNP paper for
making copper or silver etching resists ? Nitric Acid and Ferric
Nitrate are not cheap or readily available. Add the HazMat charge in
adition and this stuff becomes pricy. Any ideas there ?

Barnes & Noble was clearing out all their old stock of Dover Clip Art
books. They were in the process of converting the images in them to C
D’s. At $ 1.00 each for royalty free images, I fell on the bunch like
a Bubba on a plate of pork chops. While most of the old images are
for sale on new CD’s, not all of them are still available. Don’t turn
up your nose at them.

I would like a program in which I can import a varity of files, alter
or manipulate them extensively and print in a dimensionally accurate
way. Being able to work with monograms and type fonts would br great
if I can work them into part of another design.

I intend making 1 - off or limited production pieces, yet I would
like to have my material to be up scaleable to include having larger
production runs if i get lucky and find a larger market.

I am also interested in printing to a transparent film and then
being able to " prick " transfer through in to wax for wax carving.
have used this in laying out rings using frosted, removeable scotch
tape. I would like to be able to do this for larger jewelry as well.
It would make monogramed belt buckles so much easier to wax carve.

I have a unused copy of Rhino and Flamingo which I bought a few years
ago with my student discount. I found it intimidating. Could it be
used for the task I am inquiring about ? I have also looked at a
version 14 of TurboCAD Deluxe. Will the TurboCAD Deluxe work for what
I am wanting to do ?

I would like to print with my laser printer to a resolution of 0.3
mm. on paper or film. Is this a realistic target ? I was told that
hair spray can be used to stabilize the laser print for using it with
a water base glue. Any better ideas ?

Thank You for your kind consideration
ROBB.


#2

Robb,

I am Not a jeweler, but I have had experience with CAD, CAM and
etching in another field. I am a technology education teacher. In my
electronics class, I’ve used many different methods to create printed
circuit boards on copper clad material. It sounds to me like what I
do in class is similar to what you are looking for. The PNP paper can
be purchased more reasonably in places like electronix express,
mouser, allelectronics.com, or almost any of the electronics stores.
As an alternative to PNP, you can go to a stationary store and
purchase high quality glossy paper that has a high clay based finish.
It works like PNP, but you can purchase a ream of it for considerably
less than PNP, and if you want to print a nice picture on glossy
paper…you got it. There is a description of how to use it in the
book CNC and Robotics, but I have seen it described on-line. I would
Google PC board making and you should find it.

Another excellent way to transfer your art work involves finding an
old pen plotter. The flat stock can be placed on the table of the
plotter, and the pens wil draw directly on the sheet goods. This
method wrks great, but pen plotters are more and more difficult to
find.

The last method I’ve used works great but is the most expensive,
unless you can find a friend with the machinery to do some horse
trading with. I paint the entire piece of PC board material with
black paint and let it dry thoroughly. I make a reverse image of the
artwork so that the background is Black and the image is white. I
then put the image into a laser engraver and engrave off the black
areas to expose the bare copper board for etching.

Another method I’ve thought of but haven’t tried would be to print
your image on PSA paper and cut out the image. A rolland sign making
machine would be perfect for this but a steady hand and a sharp knife
would work too. Stick the paper to your material and sand blast away
the unmasked areas. Small hand held sand blasters can be purchased
for very little at Harbor Freight. Sand blasting would also
elliminate the chemical disposal problem with materials like Ferric
Chloride.

We use Inventor for technical drwings, which is WAY too expensive
for most home users. The laser engraver uses Corel Draw for
manipulating clipart and other images. Corel Draw is much more
affordable than Inventor. Don’t know how it compares to Turbo CAD.

Regards, Matt


#3

I’ve used TurboCAD for jewellery design for a number of years: 3D
models for customers to visualise the final item in photo realistic
form, and 2D drawings for sticking onto sheet for piercing. Its
easily accurate to 0.3mm. I currently use V11.2 Professional, but am
thinking of upgrading to V15 for the unbend feature.

I often import photos of non-standard stones etc and use TC to
design the setting.

Don’t get the wrong idea about CAD programs; none of them can be
mastered quickly. Some are easier than others, but they all have a
very steep learning curve. With the correct tutorials and access to
somebody who knows the program, you can be up and going in a week or
so, but it will take months before you are really proficient. If this
dismays you then you will not succeed with any CAD program.

This is not meant to turn you off of TCAD or any other CAD program,
its intended to present an accurate picture of what you would be
taking on. The journey is hard, but the view from the top is really
worth it. Once you get there you will never want to resort to pencil
and paper again.

The following link shows some of the TCAD drawings I did for a 1.5ct
diamond ring in platinum. No castings were used, the ring was
entirely fabricated from sheet and wire. Some of the dimensions used
can be seen.

The following link shows a photograph of the finished ring.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4

CAD software is really best for creating 3D objects, although they
do have some image import capability, they’re not really any good at
editing them. You need to look at 2D graphic arts software.

You can probably do what you need with just a good image editor,
Photoshop is the best but most expensive, although a free or low
cost version has just been released online. There are some decent
shareware and freeware packages around as well. Keep in mind that
any image you import is just that, an image, so a scan of a font is
not treated like a font, it’s just another image. You can layout
text in Photoshop using actual fonts but it’s a little limiting,
you’re better off with page layout software or even vector drawing
software like Illustrator.

A decent laser printer should be able to do the job, it can print on
vellum or transparencies easily.

Harry
www.harryhamilldesigns.com


#5

Robb, what you ask is bigger than you know, I think. First off,
here’s a good link:

http://www.masternewmedia.org/how_to_convert_bitmaps_into_vectors

Your scanner, or a cd of scanned images, is going to give you
bitmapped images, otherwise known as raster graphics -.jpg,.bmp,.gif

  • even.psd. Those are the well known “cloud of dots” images, and I’ll
    say right here that you will be better off just to deal with them as
    such - save yourself much grief. You can use any image manipulation
    program to handle them. Vector graphics are mathematical descriptions
    of imagery (background…), and Adobe Illustrator, Flash, and others
    handle those. Those are the truly scalable graphics. If you look at
    the website for Turbocad, you’ll find that it can export bitmaps
    (like a snapshot of your work), but it cannot import them at all -
    totally useless for what you ask. As for Rhino, I don’t know for a
    fact, but there’s no indication of it in their docs, either.
    Illustrator has a fairly rudimentary tracing function, and it seems I
    saw something else Adobe has, but I don’t remember it offhand. There
    IS a way to do what you want, but again it will be so laborious that
    you’re probably better off just using the bitmaps as they come and
    live with any issues you get from scaling. I doubt you’re going to be
    scaling bitmaps up or down by 200% and stuff anyway, and scaling by
    20% isn’t that much of an issue, usually. Use unsharp mask…

BTW, fonts are vector graphics by definition - modern ones, anyway
(.ttf and others). That’s why graphics programs go into another mode
when you use them, and why in Photoshop, for instance, you need to
convert them to graphics to do manipulations on them. By “graphics”,
Photoshop means rasterizing them - converting to bitmaps. It’s easy
to rasterize vectors, it’s the other way around that’s not so easy.

Bottom line: A cad program puts out vector graphics of some sort,
usually in a proprietary format, but most don’t import or handle
bitmaps except for reference planes (you need to trace over the
reference plane within the program - each and every bit of it).
There are programs that will convert raster to vector - see the link
above - but most are sketchy and laborious. Or just deal with the
bitmaps as they come in any graphics program, and if you use fonts
they will be vectors to begin with… Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro is
real nice, and there are many others… I’ll also point out that
most of us have more or less skill in manipulating bitmaps - it
resembles any child’s crayon and watercolor kit. Vector graphics need
another skill set to do well - not so hard, but not the same, either.
More like geometry than art, maybe. What you are looking for is plain
old graphics manipulation - if you can get a CAD program that works,
then fine, but it’s much more than is necessary for the job. Rhino is
3D - you’ll likely have to struggle with it to get what you want if
it will even do it at all, where Photoshop is made for it.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

Robb,

I have done the kind of work that you are talking about. I have a
CAD program but for this type of application I use Adobe Illustrator
almost exclusively. I would import (“PLACE”) the scans into
Illustrator, and then either use them directly, or if the image was
not clear enough at the resolution needed only then would I go
through the effort of converting to vector graphics, either through
the automatic tracer or hand drawing over the scanned image.

Inkscape http://www.inkscape.org is a free vector graphics program
for Windows/Mac/Linux. I have no experience with the program but it
looks like it should do what you want.

I have not used this for etching, but I have for composition work
when wax and gem carving. I prefer to use a thermal printer (Dymo
Labelwriter) and clear labels. Unlike a laser or ink jet printer
there is no actual ink used, the design is literally burned into the
label which makes it very impervious when using water, which is vital
for stone carving. Plus with the labels I don’t have to worry about
issues with glue nor the drying time. Just print, peel, stick, and
carve. Sometimes you even have a chance to reposition. The labels
come in different sizes. I have found Amazon.com the best source for
the Labelwriter and the odd sized and clear labels.

Good luck
Epaul - Gem Artist
Gryphon Song Creations
www.gemartist.com


#7

Hi,

Rather than spending a lot of money and time on PNP paper, have a
look at these pages which show how to transfer laser printed images
directly onto metal. These suggest using inkjet photo paper or the
backing off sticky labels but I have had great success just using
the thin, shiny pages out of travel brochures or TV listings
magazines. So long as there isn’t excessive ink on these pages, i.e.
pages of text or ones with images which have no very densely coloured
areas, the ink will not affect the process as it is bonded into the
paper. I like this method as the paper is free!! The best pages are
those that will crinkle if they get damp as they dissolve quickly in
water. Don’t forget to mirror your image though…

http://tinyurl.com/5v7pfd
http://tinyurl.com/6o5vvv
http://tinyurl.com/6qns85

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#8

I thought I’d clarify graphics files because there was a hint of
non-understanding in the original post. I know many here know this
by heart, but maybe it should be said for those who don’t.
Quickly…

Most computer images are bitmap files, otherwise known as raster
images. There are various formats -.gif,.pic,.jpg, etc. BTW, movie
files are also bitmap files strung together in a stream. The
computer reads the file, and the file says, "Put this dot (pixel)
there, and make it blue, put that dot there, and make it green."
1,276,976 times. When you enlarge such and image on the computer
there are several algorithms for it, but they all interpolate. They
pull the blue dot and the green dot farther apart and then add a
blue-green dot in between. That can be more or less successful
depending on the image quality and the program being used. Digital
cameras, scanners and most paint and photo programs generate
bitmaps.

Vector graphics deal in vectors (duh ;} which are mathematically
described lines. When the computer displays a bitmap rectangle, the
file says, “Put all those dots in a rectangular shape.” In a vector
file, it says “Draw x=2, y=3 and make it green” It is difficult to
get shaded color in vector graphics because of that, and that is the
strength of bitmaps. It’s easy to see, though, that all you need to
do to scale a vector graphic is change the numbers - actually you
draw it, usually, and the file changes the numbers. So, when you
enlarge it, the file now says x=6, y=9, and the computer draws it to
the screen. The lines are the same quality and resolution, because
it’s not interpolating or fudging anything, it’s drawing a line by a
mathematical constraint. This all is very complicated in terms of
how the program and file describe complex shapes, but of course you
don’t need to know all that. But that’s the power of them, and it
lets us do stuff like make a 2 pt. font and scale it to 45 points and
have it clean as can be…

It’s also why it’s much more difficult to change a bitmap to a
vector than vice-versa. The computer is not necessarily very good at
deciding where the lines should go when it’s following a pattern of
dots - Is it denser here? or there?

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#9
fonts are vector graphics by definition 

Thanks for explaining something that has puzzled me for a long time.
The new technologies require a new orientation and a whole new
vocabulary. Who among ordinary consumers ever knew that you could
rasterize vectors but couldn’t vectorize rasters? I look at this
stuff and say “Where does an alien go to register?”


#10

Oh, but you can Vectorize Rasters. The program WinTopo can be used
to do this. I’m sure there are others. It will take raster files and
turn them into vectors so that you can turn them into NC code with
yet another program.

Normal humans…not just Aliens can find all of this on line now,
and be taught this stuff at any university that teaches, technology
education, engineering, engineering technology, computer graphics,
and a host of other disciplines.


#11
Vector graphics deal in vectors (duh ;} which are mathematically
described lines. When the computer displays a bitmap rectangle,
the file says, "Put all those dots in a rectangular shape." In a
vector file, it says "Draw x=2, y=3 and make it green" It is
difficult to get shaded color in vector graphics because of that,
and that is the strength of bitmaps. 

I do not necessarily disagree with the above, but there are too much
simplification, liable to create wrong impression.

Bitmaps:

Every screen pixel has associated with it a pair of coordinates (x
displacement and y displacement) plus a color value. In 24 bit
graphics every pixel requires 3 bytes of storage just to express
color. Files can become large very fast.

Vector Graphics:

Vector is a point in space which is defined not by x and y
displacement but by the “direction” and “magnitude” Magnitude is
distance from the origin and direction is expressed as angle between
vector and x-axis (usually). In 3D and higher dimensions computations
a bit more complex, but essentially the same. The advantage of vector
graphics is that modern software can use dedicated graphic processors
(video cards) with vector routines implemented in hardware. Another
advantage is that curves (any image is a collection of curves) can be
expressed and manipulated as equations. It is exactly this property
which makes animation possible.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#12

Well, you write something, and then the next day realize you
probably should have gone farther…This should complete the picture
a bit, I think.

As far as raster vs vector in terms of color - colors are assigned
on a computer in color channels and have bit depth. That is esoteric
and mostly only color professionals really need to know it in
detail. That’s where 24 bit and 32 bit color gets involved - bits
arranged in arrays and stuff.

Each “object” is assigned a color channel. In raster (bitmap)
graphics, each pixel is an object, and each object gets assigned and
given attributes in memory or on disc. That’s why they are huge
files and take lots of memory. In vector graphics, when you draw a
rectangle, that rectangle becomes an object. It is made of pixels,
as is everything onscreen, but the computer thinks of it as a single
object. It would be useful to say that the computer treats a
full-screen vector drawn circle as a single pixel, in terms of
memory allocation and such. That single object can only be assigned
a single color channel. In truth, the vector circle is two objects -
the line and the space inside the line, i.e. the border and the
field, but you get the idea. The border can be blue, and the field
can be red, but you cannot put a ramp (gradient) into the field
because it’s a single object and can only have a single color.

So it is truthful to say that each form of graphic is good for what
it’s good for. Vector graphics are infinitely scalable, have
relatively tiny file sizes ( bitmap maps each pixel, vector says
"draw x=2, y=3, color blue - and a bit more computer speak, but not
much) and can be manipulated with great precision, as with CAD.
Bitmaps reflect the real world as we see it - painting and drawing
and tonal colors and shading. To accomplish that with vectors you
would have to make millions of pixel-sized vector objects, and
arrange them.

All of this is textbook knowledge - I just thought it would be good
to clarify it for those here who can use it.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#13
Oh, but you can Vectorize Rasters. The program WinTopo can be used
to do this. I'm sure there are others. It will take raster files
and turn them into vectors 

Yes, Matt, as has been said on this thread. The problem is that it
often doesn’t work very well. Vectorizing a photograph will often
look like a four year old with a crayon got to it. Better software =
better results, of course. The real issue, and what I and others
pointed out, is that it might be better at times to just use the
bitmap, instead of taking hours to trace it in a vector program for
marginally better results in a piece of jewelry. That’s up to the
user, of course. Yes, it can be done, but vector to bitmap just goes
bang! and it’s done. Bitmap to vector is a much more laborious
process, whether it’s done by computer or human. Going for NC is
different, but the question wasn’t about NC…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#14
as has been said on this thread. The problem is that it often
doesn't work very well. Vectorizing a photograph will often look
like a four year old with a crayon got to it. Better software =
better results, of course. The real issue, and what I and others
pointed out, is that it might be better at times to just use the
bitmap, instead of taking hours to trace it in a vector program
for marginally better results in a piece of jewelry. That's up to
the user, of course. Yes, it can be done, but vector to bitmap just
goes bang! and it's done. Bitmap to vector is a much more laborious
process, whether it's done by computer or human. Going for NC is
different, but the question wasn't about NC... 

John’s right on the money here. Yes, you can vectorize your bitmaps
automatically, but the usual result is a set of very wiggly lines,
not the clean edges you might imagine. As I recall, the original
poster in this thread mentioned that he has Rhino already. With that
program, there’s a function called “Background Bitmap”. You can
bring up your bitmap image in the background, and trace over it by
hand with Rhino’s curve tools (Interpcrv works best for me) putting
the lines where you want them, instead of where the program
arbitrarily decides they should go. This will give a lot cleaner
results than the automatic routines. It’s initially slower to do it
by hand, but there’s a lot less clean-up involved afterwards.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#15

Rhino gets my vote over turbo cad any day…the flamingo plug in is
fabulous for rendering and i use the shared whiteboard with the NURBS
platform for distance educating for some remotely located and across
the pond students! the free trial says it all…or rather does it all!
rer


#16
Yes, you can vectorize your bitmaps automatically, but the usual
result is a set of very wiggly lines, not the clean edges you might
imagine. 

As John and Andrew concur, it can be much easier to hand trace an
image than to vectorize a raster image with an automated tool.

I’m also a big fan of Rhino’s modeling tools, but as others who have
tried it might attest, I personally find that MoI3d’s drawing tools
meet the needs of the typical 3D jewelry designer for this sort of
work with more fluidity and speed than Rhino’s.

Positioning and scaling bitmaps is more intuitive, there’s also the
option to make the bitmap as transparent as needed in order to see
where to draw. One of MoI’s innovative features is that a curve may
be shaped just by tugging any place on it, (rather than having to
grab onto a control point), but you also have the more traditional
option to move, add or delete control points and knots, as well.

With Michael Gibson’s help, I’ve created a “ring circle” plug-in with
ring-size standards for several countries. It can be found on the
Resource page http://moi3d.com/resources (under Petr’s MoI
page/custom commands), along with some jewelry videos in the tutorial
section.

For those who doubt that a $200 CAD program can easily create
beautiful models of all sorts, including jewelry, check out the new
gallery page, http://moi3d.com/gallery

You might be pleasantly surprised!

Jesse Kaufman